News Column

PRC Knowledge Hub on Green Development and Eco-Compensation Established with ADB Support

July 30, 2014



BEIJING, July 30 -- The Asian Development Bank issued the following news release:

A memorandum of understanding establishing a knowledge hub on green development and eco-compensation was today signed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Western Development Department of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and China Agricultural University (CAU).

The China Eco-compensation Policy Research Center of CAU, a leading PRC institution in higher education and research in natural resource management and rural development, will host the hub.

"The knowledge hub will enable policymakers, researchers, and those working on green development, payments for ecosystem services, and eco-compensation to share best practices and disseminate them to development partners and other countries in developing Asia," said Ayumi Konishi, Director General of ADB'sEast Asia Department. Other signatories of the MOU were NDRC Department of Western Development Director General Qin Yucai and CAU Vice-President Li Zhaohu.

It is widely recognized in the PRC that the country's rapid economic growth has given rise to serious adverse environmental impacts. PRC leadership has thus made environmental protection and green development a top national policy priority, and the 18th National Congress has recognized "eco-compensation" as a key instrument for tackling environmental degradation.

"Eco-compensation" is an important concept in the PRC, encompassing a growing range of government programs and policies to improve environmental protection and management. It shares some similarities to "Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)", a class of environmental policy tools of growing popularity internationally.

Through numerous eco-compensation pilot programs and policies, the PRC government is striving to better incorporate the true social costs and benefits of environmental management and ecosystem service provision in the country's economic system. This will help to improve the social inclusiveness, financial support, and overall environmental sustainability of natural resource management and conservation.

The current drive toward developing eco-compensation mechanisms started in 1999, when the government began the Conversion of Cropland to Forest and Grassland Program. This has spent more than CNY230 billion ($38 billion) by 2009 on payments and incentives for farmers to retire and afforest or plant grass on more than 9 million hectares of sloping or marginal cropland. The program now stretches to all corners of the country.

Among the activities planned for the new hub are a bilingual website, database, a series of progress reports, and an annual conference on green development and eco-compensation.

The hub's initial 3-year budget is $400,000, of which ADB is providing $300,000 from the multi-donor supported Water Financing Partnership Facility.

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